The Michigan women’s tennis team is already out on the
courts getting ready for what its players hope will be an
electrifying spring season, beginning with the ITA All-American
Championships next Tuesday.
Senior captain Michelle DaCosta and her junior doubles partner
Kara Delicata ended last season ranked 27th in the nation and head
into this year ranked No. 8.
This duo has the best chance to bring home some hardware this
year for the Wolverines, enjoyed a breakout season last year and
made the NCAA Tournament.
“There is no guarantee we can stay at eight, and we
definitely have to keep up the level of play,” DaCosta said.
“We had a great year last year and we are looking to repeat
that, for sure.
DaCosta, who never plays without a maize and blue bandana or
hat, holds a preseason singles ranking of 34th in the nation and
can’t wait for this upcoming tournament to set a positive
tone for the season.
On the courts, this nine-person squad collectively lets out a
symphony of grunts that make listening to Serena Williams
comparable to a night at the opera. Under the incessant roars, lies
a well-oiled machine led by DaCosta (affectionately referred to by
her teammates as “D”) and senior Leanne Rutherford.
“Leadership will be important to our success and I think
we have two outstanding leaders in Michelle and Leanne,”
coach Bitsy Ritt said.
Aside from the grunts during practice, there were words of
encouragement, usually directed at first-year standouts Monica Sly
and Allie Shafner. The two are eager to jump into the season and
build on the team’s past accomplishments.
“We lost three seniors last year and it’s going to
be a tough adjustment, but I feel like we have great incoming
freshmen and I’m really excited about the upcoming
season,” said DaCosta.